The Bandit Puzzle
A little while ago I reviewed a small metal puzzle called Lib-orb-rate.
The designer of that puzzle, Matthew Williams, AKA MW Puzzles, has been hard at work producing his next box of tricks, and I was fortunate enough to own and solve a copy a little while ago.
For those who are familiar with Matt’s earlier work, it’s typically comprised of anodised aluminium and brass, and takes the form of a kind of cuboid. See the below pictures of each of his releases so far.
Bottom, left to right; The Penny Pincher, 3 The Peg
That was until now.
Over the past 18 months Matt has been hard at work creating The Bandit, his brand new sequential Discovery Puzzle in the form of, you guessed it, a one armed bandit.
Before I get into the solving experience, I will say that from a design aspect it is great to see MW Puzzles stretching their wings and showing what is possible when not constrained to a 50mm x 50mm cube. There’ll be no spoilers in the upcoming text, but be sure to know this puzzle packs in a lot of great stuff, some of which I haven’t seen in a puzzle before.
So, diving right into it, what do we get?
We get one of four different coloured Bandit puzzles, of which there’ll be a limited amount of each. 75 Red, 75 Blue, 75 Purple and 75 Black copies made available respectively.
The 'Black' edition, contrasted nicely with the dark wood and silver accents.
Upon ordering the puzzle over at www.mwpuzzles.com, you will be able to select your edition colour as a preference. It’s worth noting that whilst there was equal number produced of each colour edition, that at time of writing all editions are still available, but some are very close to becoming unavailable... Here's looking at you - Red edition!
The copy I received to solve was the black edition, which I’m fairly sure is my favourite colour of the three, it really stood out nicely with the silver accents and dark walnut side panels.
The puzzle sizes up quite nicely, it’s not overly cumbersome which could be an initial worry from the puzzling folks with dwindling shelf space or small hands. It comes in at 180mm high, 120mm wide, and 100mm deep.
For size comparison, it's almost 4 times the height of debut puzzle, 3 The Peg.
The goal of the puzzle is nicely outlined thanks to the detailed rule card which adds an element of excitement to the puzzle, without having done anything.
1. Fix the bandit
2. Find your unique id card
3. Win the jackpot
And so that’s where the journey begins.
You’ll find things that move right away, and things that don’t move but will presumably eventually move.
After playing with the things that do move it won’t take long for the first step to be found and after careful studying of the puzzle, it’s logical as to where you might find tools, but also as to where you might need to use them. The great thing is, the further you get through the puzzle, the less obvious the steps become which helps ramp up the difficulty in a very nicely progressive and fun way.
A whole lotta holes.
Bandit isn’t the hardest puzzle out there, but it is one of the nicest when it comes to progressive difficulty.
I found myself stuck at a few walls a couple of times, but each time I got myself over one of those walls, it was usually because a fine reward laid behind each step.
The ingenuity of Bandit means you’ll be smiling away at things that happen when you hope and expect they would - and then scratching your head as to what the next step could be.
Now I don’t want to spoil any steps in this puzzle, but the final mechanism at play I still don’t quite understand how it works, and at this point I don’t think I want to know. I’m going to state that it’s a moment of ‘magic’ and leave it at that - because this step is one of my favourites on any puzzle I’ve owned, borrowed and ultimately solved.
I was grinning from ear to ear and subsequently repeated the final step 4-5 times.
The back of the puzzle uses an 'almost opaque' acrylic back which may aide you in discovering some of Bandit's secrets, should you need it.
Once all steps on the rule card have been completed - resetting it is a simple case of reversing all steps and finding yourself staring at puzzle that is just as beautiful to display in an unsolved state, as it is to display in the solved state.
If you’re thinking of purchasing your first puzzle from MW Puzzles, this is a mighty fine entry that will greet you with ‘Aha moment’ after ‘Aha moment’. If you’re purchasing this after having already solved the three puzzles that have already been released, then you’ll be familiar in the knowledge of the quality and design that is laid out before you within The Bandit.
At time of writing Bandit is currently shipping the first wave of pre-orders.
Bandit will be back in stock in limited supply over on the MW Puzzles website later in 2023!